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Women’s Prestige Cycling Series Begins at Redlands

March 30, 2011

Minneapolis — New teams and new favorites make this year’s Women’s Prestige Cycling Series wide open when it begins Thursday in California with the Redlands Bicycle Classic.

Since 2004, the Series has highlighted women’s racing by giving them a spotlight they do not have to share with men. It is the only national series solely for women and is considered to be the heir apparent to the HP International Women’s Challenge, which ended its 19-year run in 2002.

Last year’s winner, Mara Abbott, returns to defend her individual title, but she will not be supported by her new Diadora Safi-Pasta team. Instead, she will be guest riding for SC Velo-Empower Coaching. Other favorites for the individual title include two-time world time trial champion Kristin Armstrong, who managed Abbott last year as part of the Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12 squad. Armstrong, the 2008 Olympic time trial gold medalist and four-time Nature Valley Grand Prix champion, has come out of retirement to ride for Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12. Other individual contenders are Catherine Cheatley (Colavita Forno D’Asolo), who finished third in the Series last year, and former world time trial champion Amber Neben (HTC-Highroad).

Mara Abbott celebrated her lead in the Women's Prestige Cycling Series last year on Father's Day at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. (courtesy Stephanie Williams)
Mara Abbott celebrated her lead in the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series last year on Father’s Day at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. (courtesy Stephanie Williams)

Neben’s teammate, Amanda Miller, is the favorite for the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series Best Young Rider competition. An alumna of the Nature Valley Grand Prix’s Collegiate All Star team, Miller was runner-up at the San Dimas Stage Race, the traditional tune-up for Redlands. The 25-year-old is also the only rider who retains her age eligibility from the top five of last year’s Best Young Rider classification.

The Series Sprint classification is wide open. Last year’s champion, Carla Swart, was killed in a training accident in January, while runner-up Shelley Olds is racing in Europe. Third-place finisher Carmen Small (Team TIBCO/To The Top) may be challenged by Cheatley or Abbott, particularly if they are not contesting the individual title.

On paper, HTC-Highroad is the favorite to unseat 2010 team champion Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12. While HTC-Highroad is stacked with talent, Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12 has lost Olds (to Diadora-Pasta Zara-Manhattan) and Abbott. However, Armstrong’s return from retirement may well fill that gap. Other teams that could be in contention include Colavita Forno D’Asolo and Team TIBCO/To The Top.

2011 Women’s Prestige Cycling Series Teams:

Colavita Forno D’Asolo
Danbury Audi
HTC-Highroad
Missing Link Coaching Systems-Specialized
NOW-MS Society
Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12
Primal/MapMyRide
SC Velo-Empower Coaching
Team Juvederm
Team Rouse
Team Kenda presented by GEARGRINDER
Team TIBCO/To The Top
Vanderkitten-Focus
Webcor Alto Velo

About the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series

The only only national-level competition produced by women for women features four races in its eighth year. Its origin can be traced back to a discussion at the 2003 Women’s Cycling Summit Conference, held at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Since then, more than 30 teams have participated in some of the United States’ top races from coast to coast. Following the Redlands Bicycle Classic in California (March 31-April 3), the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series travels to New Mexico for the SRAM Tour of the Gila (April 27-May 1), continues with the Nature Valley Grand Prix in Minnesota (June 15-19) and wraps up with the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic (July 19-24) in Oregon.

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Dramatic Finish on Tap for Women’s Prestige Cycling Series

July 19, 2010

Minneapolis (July 19, 2010) – The individual, sprint and team classifications remain up for grabs with one race remaining in the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series.

The 30th edition of the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic begins Tuesday. The six-day event is the longest consecutively run elite stage race in the United States.

In the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series individual standings, Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12) holds a 41-point lead over Alison Powers (Team Vera Bradley Foundation). Powers said she is feeling good and will have a team of seven riders around her while Abbott will bring only three teammates to Bend, Ore.

Mara Abbott (left) wore the Sports Beans Queen of the Hills jersey on the final stage of the Nature Valley Grand Prix in Stillwater, Minn (photo courtesy: Stephanie Williams)

“I have good fitness and I’m motivated and our team is strong, so I’m hoping we can do well,” Powers said. “This has been a hard season competition-wise, which is really cool. All the teams have strong riders. All the teams have good depth.”

Brooke Miller (TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team) stands third in the sprint classification, but the two riders ahead of her – Shelley Evans (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12) and Carmen Small (Colavita/Baci presented by Cooking Light) are not on their teams’ roster for the race.

Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 holds the lead in the team classification, but Team Vera Bradley Foundation remains in striking distance.

The difference in sizes of the Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 and Vera Bradley Foundation teams could mean some drama in the team classification since the top four riders score points, said David LaPorte, the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series co-founder who also directs the Nature Valley Grand Prix.

“Abbott’s teammates will probably all be riding in support of her, which doesn’t bode well for their individual results,” LaPorte said. “Abbott’s points are doubled since she’s under the age of 26, but the Vera Bradley Foundation is likely to have more riders gaining points.”

Abbott, winner of the recent women’s Giro d’Italia, already has the best young rider (Under 26) jersey sewed up.

The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series is the only national bicycle racing series solely showcasing the country’s top female cycling talent. It began in March with the Redlands Bicycle Classic, followed by the SRAM Tour of the Gila in New Mexico in late April and continued at Nature Valley Grand Prix in eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin last month.

For more information about the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, visit the official website, www.WomenCyclists.com, or send an e-mail to: wpcs2010 @ womencyclists.com.

INDIVIDUAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Mara Abbott, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 360.
2. Alison Powers, Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 319.
3. Evelyn Stevens, HTC-Columbia – 275.
4. Erinne Willock, Webcor Builders – 246.
5. Shelley Evans, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 242.

BEST YOUNG RIDER (UNDER 26) CLASSIFICATION

1. Mara Abbott, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 605.
2. Rebecca Much, TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 319.
3. Amanda Miller, TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 319.
4. Chloe Forsman, Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus, 297.
5. Melanie Meyers, Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus, 275.

SPRINT CLASSIFICATION

1. Shelley Evans, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 385.
2. Carmen Small, Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light – 289.
3. Brooke Miller, TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 286.
4. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, HTC-Columbia – 220.
5. Carla Swart, Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 198.

TEAM CLASSIFICATION

1. Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 1,185.
2. Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 844.
3. HTC-Columbia – 814.
4. Colavita/Baci presented by Cooking Light – 644.
5. Webcor Builders – 616.

About the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series

The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series was created following input at the 2003 Women’s Cycling Summit Conference, hosted at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. The inaugural edition of the Series was held the following year. The goal of the Series is to promote women’s racing by giving them a spotlight that they do not have to share with men. The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series is considered the heir apparent to the HP International Women’s Challenge, a fabled women’s stage race that ended its 19-year run in 2003.

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Abbott Still Leads Women’s Prestige Cycling Series

July 3, 2010

Minneapolis – With one race remaining in the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, new U.S. national road champion Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12) holds a slim lead over Alison Powers (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) and Evelyn Stevens (HTC-Columbia).

Abbott has held the lead in the individual standings since her win at the SRAM Tour of the Gila. But Stevens closed the gap at the Nature Valley Grand Prix with a runner-up finish to Abbott’s teammate, Shelley Evans – who climbed into the top five on the strength of her victory. Abbott, Powers and Evans all plan to compete in the final Series event, the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic, in Oregon later this month.

Mara Abbott celebrated her lead in the Women's Prestige Cycling Series on Father's Day at the Nature Valley Grand Prix.

In contrast, Abbott holds an insurmountable lead in the Series Best Young Rider competition in her last year of eligibility. The race is now for second place, with TIBCO/To the Top teammates Rebecca Much and Amanda Miller and Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus teammates Chloe Forsman and Melanie Meyers separated by a scant 44 points.

Evans, the newly crowned U.S. national criterium champion, took over the lead in the top sprinter category from Carmen Small (Colavita/Baci presented by Cooking Light). Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12’s domination extends to the team standings and Abbott’s commanding lead in the Best Young Rider (Under 26) standings.

Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty 12 not only holds the lead in all of the Series classifications, but also in the team competition, where they lead Team Vera Bradley Foundation by 341 points. Like the Best Young Rider competition, the race may be for second place here as well, with Team Vera Bradley Foundation leading HTC-Columbia by only 30 points.

INDIVIDUAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Mara Abbott, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 360.
2. Alison Powers, Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 319.
3. Evelyn Stevens, HTC-Columbia – 275
4. Erinne Willock, Webcor Builders – 246
5. Shelley Evans, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 242.

BEST YOUNG RIDER (UNDER 26) CLASSIFICATION

1. Mara Abbott, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 605.
2. Rebecca Much, TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 319.
3. Amanda Miller, TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 319.
4. Chloe Forsman, Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus, 297.
5. Melanie Meyers, Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus, 275.

SPRINT CLASSIFICATION

1. Shelley Evans, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 385.
2. Carmen Small, Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light – 289.
3. Brooke Miller, TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 286.
4. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, HTC-Columbia – 220.
5. Carla Swart, Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 198.

TEAM CLASSIFICATION

1. Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 1,185.
2. Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 844.
3. HTC-Columbia – 814.
4. Colavita/Baci presented by Cooking Light – 644.
5. Webcor Builders – 616.

In its seventh year, the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series is the only national bicycle racing series solely showcasing the country’s top female cycling talent in four events across the country. For more information about the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, visit the official website, www.WomenCyclists.com.

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Nature Valley Grand Prix Next Stop For Women’s Prestige Cycling Series

June 14, 2010

Minneapolis – The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series continues with this week’s Nature Valley Grand Prix, the third of four stops for the Series.

Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12) is the favorite to retain the lead in the individual competition, although second-placed Alison Powers (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) is within striking distance and could claim the lead if she wins the Nature Valley Grand Prix. A number of other riders have a mathematical chance of taking the lead, but they would need both Abbott and Powers to turn in poor performances.

Abbott appears to have a lock on the Series’ Best Young Rider competition in her last year of eligibility. With nearly double the points of her nearest rival, Rebecca Much (Team TIBCO/To The Top Pro Cycling), Abbott would have to fail to finish to lose the lead. The Best Young Rider classification may be a race for second place, with Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus teammates Chloe Forsman and Melanie Meyers hot on Much’s heals and TIBCO teammates Allison Starnes and Amanda Miller close behind.

Carmen Small (Colavita/Baci) has a comfortable lead in the sprinter competition. Although HTC-Columbia will be competing at the Nature Valley Grand Prix, second placed Ina-Yoko Teutenberg is not on the race roster. Coryn Rivera (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12) is nearly 100 points behind Small.

If Abbott performs up to expectations, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12 should retain its lead in the team competition, since bonus points are awarded for Best Young Riders. Team Vera Bradley Foundation is more than 200 points back in second place.

“This is a reverse of the standings on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar,” Women’s Prestige Cycling Series co-founder David LaPorte pointed out. “It also highlights the mission of the Series, which is to give women’s teams a smaller calendar that allows them to focus on key events.”

Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12 Director Kristin Armstrong said the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series is a priority for her team.

“The women’s teams have a major voice in organizing the Series and vote on the events to include,” Armstrong said. “The four Series races were included because they highlight women’s racing. Our goals for the Nature Valley Grand Prix are to keep Mara in the leaders and best young rider jerseys and to defend our position as the top team.”

The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series is the only national bicycle racing series solely showcasing the country’s top female cycling talent in four events across the country. It began at the Redlands Bicycle Classic (March 25-28) and continued at the SRAM Tour of the Gila (April 28-May 2). Following the Nature Valley Grand Prix, the finale comes at the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic (July 20-25).

For more information about the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, visit the official website, www.WomenCyclists.com.

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Abbott Takes Individual Lead In Women’s Prestige Cycling Series

May 11, 2010

Minneapolis – Mara Abbott of Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 is the new leader of the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series after the second of four events on the 2010 schedule.

Abbott tops the individual standings over Alison Powers (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) on the strength of her overall win at the recent SRAM Tour of the Gila. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, who won the Redlands Bicycle Classic to initially take the Series lead, is third.

“The SRAM Tour of the Gila was an epic race,” Abbott said. “Mother Nature threw all sorts of conditions at us, but my team protected me throughout the race and we came out on top. The team work was A+ and its the only way to win a race like that.”

Snowflakes fell at the SRAM Tour of the Gila as Mara Abbott was recognized as the new leader of the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series (photo courtesy www.gilawilderness.com).

Abbott also leads the Best Young Rider (Under 26) classification and her Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 team is tops in the team category. Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 Manager Nicola Cranmer said she is happy to see her team at the top of the standings for the Women’s Prestige Series.

“We have  a very well rounded team that can battle in all terrain,” Cranmer said. “The riders are very much looking forward to the Nature Valley Grand Prix. SRAM Tour of the Gila was one of the most challenging races I have witnessed. (Director) Kristin Armstrong had not seen winds like that in her 10 years of racing. Kudos to all the teams that endured the adversity. It’s a great race to include in the series.”

INDIVIDUAL CLASSIFICATION
1. Mara Abbott, Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12 – 319.
2. Alison Powers, Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 253.
3. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, HTC-Columbia – 220.
4. Katharine Carroll, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 175.
5. Robin Farina, Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 165.

BEST YOUNG RIDER (UNDER 26) CLASSIFICATION
1. Mara Abbott, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 440.
2. Rebecca Much, TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 231.
3. Chloe Forsman, Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus, 220.
4. Melanie Meyers, Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus, 209.
5. Alison Starnes, TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 198.

In the Sprint competition, Carmen Small (Colavita/Baci presented by Cooking Light), won that classification at the SRAM Tour of the Gila to overtake Teutenberg, who did not compete in the race. Coryn Rivera (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12) is third.

SPRINT CLASSIFICATION
1. Carmen Small, Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light – 252.
2. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, HTC-Columbia – 220.
3. Coryn Rivera, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 165.
4. Shelley Evans, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 165.
5. Andrea Dvorak, Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light – 132.

In the team standings, Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty 12 has widened its lead considerably over Team Vera Bradley Foundation, which won the team classification at Redlands. Colavita/Baci presented by Cooking Light is third.

TEAM CLASSIFICATION
1. Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 873.
2. Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 654.
3. Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light – 475.
4. HTC-Columbia – 369.
5. Webcor Builders – 326.

The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series is the only national bicycle racing series solely showcasing the country’s top female cycling talent in four events across the country.  The third event is the Nature Valley Grand Prix (June 16-20), followed by the Cascade Cycling Classic (July 20-25).

For more information about the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, visit the official website, www.WomenCyclists.com

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